About the course
The DPhil offered by this EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Future Propulsion and Power provides graduates with the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge, understanding and expertise in aircraft propulsion and gas turbines. This is a joint programme between the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Loughborough, together with leading engine manufacturers and partners in the field.
In the first year, all students study for a master’s degree in Future Propulsion and Power at the University of Cambridge. In years two to four, Oxford's students will undertake industrially-focussed projects at the Oxford Thermofluids Institute – also known as Osney Laboratory - in the Department of Engineering Science.
Year one is oriented towards developing your knowledge base. Along with CDT students from Cambridge and Loughborough, you will register and study for an MRes degree in Future Propulsion and Power at the University of Cambridge. The course involves taught lectures and laboratory modules, along with several mini projects of two to three weeks each undertaken at the three partner universities and at some of the sites of the industrial partners. These are precursors to your DPhil study, to hone your research skills and shape your main research area. You will meet your supervisor regularly to assess progress and discuss academic issues.
Years two to four see an increasing emphasis on individual research. Oxford's students register for the degree of DPhil and carry out a research project at the Oxford Thermofluids Institute, an internationally-recognised centre for research in Gas Turbine Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics, and part of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science. You will benefit from the network of leading experts in the field, and develop a portfolio of academic, laboratory and career-oriented skills. Throughout of the research project, close interaction with an industrial partner is expected. In addition, the full cohort meets regularly for CDT seminars and workshop events.
You will be assessed continually throughout the first year at Cambridge during courses and projects, and will be formally examined in your MRes programme. At the end of your second year in Oxford, you will be required to write a report and give a presentation on your research, and to present a detailed and coherent plan for the research-intensive phase in the third and fourth years of your doctoral studies. Progress towards completion is again formally assessed some way into the final year of study.
For the DPhil, you will be required to submit a substantial thesis that will be read and examined by experts in the field, one from the Department and one from elsewhere. Often the thesis will result in the publication of several journal and conference papers.
It is expected that the in-depth training and exposure to research problems of vital interest to industrial partners in the CDT in Future Propulsion and Power, along with the progressive increase in responsibility and external exposure, will make graduates from the CDT well equipped for leadership roles in industry, both nationally and internationally.
Others may wish to continue to spend time in postdoctoral research, probably further developing the work in their theses towards commercial application.
Other courses in this area
Changes to the course
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
Entry requirements for entry in 2019-20
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:
1. Academic ability
Proven and potential academic excellence
Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, usually in engineering with some specialisation in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. Candidates with undergraduate degrees from related fields will also be considered.
Entry into the CDT programme is competitive and will take account of academic qualifications, performance and aspirations.
Note that each candidate will need to get accepted by both Oxford (for the DPhil) and Cambridge (for the MRes). Although you will start the CDT program in year one at Cambridge, your admission to the MRes at Cambridge will be conditional on your already holding a conditional offer of a DPhil place at Oxford for years two to four.
A previous master's qualification is not required.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).
Other appropriate indicators will include:
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview(s)
Interviews (in person or by other means) may form part of the admissions process.
Publications are not required.
2. English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.
3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places
The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- The ability of the Department of Engineering Science, in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
- Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.
The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:
- The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Engineering Science, in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
- Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Engineering Science.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.
4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties
Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.
Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.
Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
6. Other information
Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.
The CDT is resourced by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and is jointly hosted by the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Loughborough.
Oxford students will spend the first year as members of the Department of Engineering in Cambridge and years two to four in Oxford. At Oxford, engineering research and teaching takes place in a unified Department of Engineering Science with over 100 academic staff who are committed to advanced work in their own specialities, while recognising a common engineering foundation. This creates an intellectual space where interdisciplinary work thrives, and where expert advice is available to students in areas which though not central to their core research still impinge on it.
The department occupies some 16,000 square metres, and has well-equipped research areas and workshops, as well as offices, lecture theatres, library, common room, stores, reprographics and other facilities. The department has around 350 research students and about 200 postdoctoral researchers and research fellows. Direct funding of research grants and contracts, from a variety of sources, amounts to an annual turnover of approximately £25m, in addition to general turnover of about £26m.
The key research area for the CDT is Thermofluids and Turbomachinery, which takes in the Osney Thermofluids Laboratory, located in a facility to the west of the city called the Southwell Building. The new laboratory was opened by Oxford's Vice Chancellor in 2010 as part of the University's strategic investment in the nation's science base. The lab houses some of the most sophisticated turbine and high speed flow facilities in the UK, and the research group includes internationally recognised experts in CFD, flow and heat transfer experiments and instrumentation. The lab is outstandingly supported by highly experienced technical, computing and administrative staff.
There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.
Annual fees for entry in 2019-20
During the first year of the course you will be charged fees by the University of Cambridge. Further information about fee rates can be found on the institution's website.
In each subsequent year of study at the University of Oxford, you will be charged course fees at Oxford’s fee rate for that year of study. For an indication of costs, the table below shows the estimated annual course fees for the second academic year of this course. Please be aware that these fees will increase annually.
Estimated annual fees for the 2020-21 academic year at Oxford
The fees shown above are the annual course fees for this course, for entry in the stated academic year.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below. You may have seen separate figures in the past for tuition fees and college fees. We have now combined these into a single figure.
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.
Students admitted by the University of Oxford are enrolled on the MRes in Future Propulsion and Power at the University of Cambridge for one academic year and are liable for fees at that University at their fee rates. Subject to meeting the progression criteria, students are then enrolled by the University of Oxford and are liable for a further nine terms of fees at the University of Oxford.
Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.
For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.
There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) and living costs. However, please note that, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2019-20 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,058 and £1,643 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2019-20, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
Please consult the University of Cambridge website for further information about living costs while studying at that institution.
How to apply
If you would like to discuss your research proposal and potential supervisors, please familiarise yourself with the Future Propulsion and Power website and then contact the CDT Director, Professor Ireland.
Before you apply, please refer to the list of research group leaders to identify areas of research that interest you. You should then make contact with the potential supervisor(s) in the department to discuss the possibility of joining the research group, as well as research projects that you could undertake.
Once decided, you should name up to three potential supervisors on the application form.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
Statement of purpose/personal statement:
1,000 to 1,500 words
Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.
This will be assessed for:
- your past commitment to sustained and intense study and your reasons for wishing to undertake research
- evidence of interest in, and experience and understanding of, the proposed area of study
- the originality of the proposed research
- the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available
- your ability to present a reasoned and coherent case in English.
Your statement should focus on your research ambitions in engineering, rather than on personal achievements, interests and aspirations.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, of which at least one must be academic
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
Professional references are welcomed, but these must be obtained from your line manager (or equivalent). At least one academic reference must be provided.
Your references will support your intellectual ability, academic achievement and potential, motivation, creativity, and ability to work singly and in a group.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Carefully read the entry requirements on this course page to make sure you meet all the criteria.
Step 2: Check above what documents are required and prepare to apply by reading our Application Guide.
Step 3: Apply as soon as possible. Consult the Application Guide for more information about deadlines.